Gerald Lesser: Sesame Street Developer Dies at 84

Posted by on Oct 6th, 2010 and filed under Featured, Television. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

The person behind the development of the educational content of the world renowned children’s television program, Sesame Street, has passed away recently.

Dr. Gerald S. Lesser, who died last September 23 at the age of 84, was a psychologist and a Harvard academician. He served as an educational adviser for Children’s Television Workshop in molding the children’s show, Sesame Street, into the instructive educational program that it is today.

Born August 22, 1926, Lesser’s early years were spent in the neighborhood of Queens, New York. He graduated from Jamaica High School of New York and went to the Columbia University to pursue his college undergrad and post-grad master’s degree in psychology.

He then went to Yale University for his doctorate degree focusing on child psychology and development. After getting his PhD, Lesser taught at the Adelphi University and Hunter College in New York for some time before proceeding to the faculty of Harvard Graduate School for Education in 1963. He headed the Human Development Program, a department of the university that deals about child rearing and its development in different cultures around the world.

Children’s Television Workshop hired Lesser for his expertise and made him chair the development team of their new show Sesame Street in 1969. It was him who designated specific personalities for each puppet and human characters of the show to serve specific educational purposes.

He died in Burlington, Massachusetts due to a cerebral hemorrhage and is survived by his wife Stella Lesser and their two children.


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